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The Carolina Hurricanes remain undefeated five games into the season and a key reason for that has been the play of goaltender Frederik Andersen.
Andersen signed a two-year deal with the team in free agency, following five years spent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. So far, the netminder has allowed just eight goals in those five games, posting an outstanding .946 save percentage to start the year.
It’s somewhat of an unexpected start for Andersen. He’s coming off two fairly underwhelming seasons and posted just an .895 save percentage in 24 games last season. Given that he’s already 32 years old, a bounce back season didn’t seem likely.
I had heavily criticized the decision to bring in Andersen, pushing out Alex Nedlejkovic in the process. I wasn’t even sure that he’d end up being the clear starter over Antti Raanta, figuring they may split time.
That said, Andersen has seemingly returned to his form from a few years ago and if he can keep up this play, you won’t see anyone complaining about the decision to sign him in free agency. Consistent goaltending has been an issue for the team for many of their recent seasons and so far, Andersen has been able to provide it.
While the Hurricanes have dominated offensively as well, to the point where they may have been able to hide certain weaknesses like they did at times last year, Andersen has still had to be sharp at times. Allowing just eight goals on his first 149 shots of the season is pretty outstanding and while the Hurricanes have kept shots to a minimum through most games, there’s no denying Andersen has been great.
Just a few years ago, Andersen was playing 60-65 games per season and while that may be pushing it, he’s certainly earned the role as the team’s starter right from the start of the season. So far, Andersen is proving to be possibly the team’s most important offseason addition.
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OTHER ARTICLES FROM OCTOBER
Projecting the Carolina Hurricanes’ 23-man roster
Hurricanes reveal opening night roster
New-look Hurricanes off to strong start
Hurricanes/Canadiens rivalry grew in Kotkaniemi’s return to Montreal
Hurricanes remain undefeated, look great early on